I was not really interested in meeting Sanjay, but pushed myself to go on the date since he seemed normal enough on the phone.  He wasn’t very engaging but he spoke in complete sentences and politely asked me, at the end of our half-hour conversation, if I would like to meet him for a coffee. It’s hard to say no to that when the usual invitation from a guy involves some variation of “Wanna hang out sometime?”

So I met him for the coffee, and once again, I didn’t find him particularly exciting.  We did manage to converse for a few hours and he seemed to be a nice, intelligent person with a lot of great qualities. So after the date, when he called to ask if I would like to meet again, I told myself to keep an open mind and made myself answer with a nice, cheery “yes!”

Umm … there is no way I can say this without sounding shallow … but that’s it. Game over. The end. I’m done.  Can’t meet him anymore.  No … Can … DO!

He had PLASTIC SEAT COVERS on his kitchen chairs!

Not the clear ones that are bought for protection, mind you.

These were the original plastic bags that the cushions came wrapped in, the ones that say “HPDE Plastic” in large black letters with some strange triangle shape, then a “DANGER OF SUFFOCATION:  DO NOT PLACE OVER HEAD” and something about keeping the bag away from children.

On the chairs … which he had for 8 YEARS!

I couldn’t help but ask Sanjay what he intended to do with the plastic bags. I mean, were they going to be there until he sold the table set to someone else, increasing its market value from $21 to $31?

Or was he going to take them off one day, say 7 years from now, when the chairs were finally depreciated to a particular point of paisa vasool?

Or was his plan to wait until a month before selling them, then take them off and have 30 full days of glorious, rapturous, naughty enjoyment of unprotected, cream colored cloth chairs with no plastic that he could actually eat on and possibly spill on (gasp!) before getting another new set of chairs with different plastic, one that might say “Made from recycled materials?”

Sigh…

So he gets added to the LOOONG list of past … uh … suitors who I have tried hard to adjust to and have finally given up on, as I surrendered to my innate shallowness.

There was “Skeletor,” who seemed good looking in his photos (chiseled features!), until you met him in real life and realized he didn’t weigh more than 100 pounds.
“Caveman” was really smart, good looking, and accomplished, but so nonverbal and silent that after our dates my brain would actually be tired from all the chirpy chatter I had to constantly emit in order to keep us both entertained.

And “Slumdog” who was actually so poor … or cheap … or both that he constantly tried to bum rides off of me and wanted to meet early to go to the movies on a Saturday night so we could sneak into a second one for free. He didn’t want to eat out at restaurants because we should save that for a special occasion (apparently our first few dates were not “special occasion” enough). But he was willing to drive for over an hour (in my car) to get $2 bhel plates.

Then there was “Bi-flexible” who advertised on Craigslist for guys to meet up with, yet wanted to marry a woman. He had served in the military, was a marathon runner, a DJ, a poet … and a freak, apparently.  I learned his secret when I saw the ad he had accidentally left open on his laptop, an ad which he didn’t deny when I asked him about it though he didn’t confirm it either. His exact words were “Well, I never said I was perfect …”

And my most memorable paramour of all … was one I never even met.

He was a Punjabi guy. I only saw his photos, but it was clear that he was a good looking, six-foot-tall, strapping, muscular, rather hairy pucca Punjab de Puttar. When I spoke to him he had a commanding deep voice and the confidence to match.

We had exchanged numbers through our online profiles and had just started our first conversation on the phone. He was so interesting that time flew by. Somewhere around the end of the call, when I was silently praying he’d ask me out, I finally thought to ask him what his name was.  He told me his name was Gurminder.

It was a reasonable enough name. I admit I was not particularly a fan when I heard it; it sounded rather old fashioned and village-y. But it was obviously a trivial, insignificant point—not even worth a second’s thought—when he had so much more to offer. And then, as I said, “Well hi, Gurminder, my name is Preeti,”  he stopped me in mid sentence.

“Gurminder is my real name, but my friends, family, and coworkers don’t call me by that.  They use my pet name.”

“And what is your pet name?”

“You can call me Laddoo.”

Pause.

Silence.

Shocked, disbelieving, surreal, this can’t be true, then relieved, wow he’s even got a great sense of humor. SILENCE.

Finally abundant laughter as I approvingly confirmed the brilliance of his joke by giggling and saying “You are so funny.  Laddoo!  That’s a new one! That’s hilarious! I wish I could come up with stuff like that!”

More laughter.

More silence.

Then the same, deep, commanding, once-beloved Punjabi voice said “No, I’m serious, I’m not joking. My pet name is Laddoo.  When I was a toddler I had these really round cheeks and the name kind of stuck. Everyone calls me that.”

I think you can guess the rest.

Seriously?

No really, seriously?  Laddoo?

And another one bites the dust.

Preeti G. is a Financial Planner, and still single in Somerset, NJ.

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